London’s Mayoral and Assembly candidates have given their reaction to this year’s budget, which was announced by UK Chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday.
Key measures include a cut in the rate of tax for those earning over £150,000 from 50p to 45p and an increase in the starting threshold for income tax which rises to £9,205.
The Chancellor also announced a new 7% rate of stamp duty on the sale of properties worth more than £2m. Homes bought via a company will be subject to a 15% rate.
There are also increases in tobacco and fuel duties.
Corporation tax will be cut from 26% to 24% in April and again to 22% in 2014.
The coalition’s previously announced cuts to child benefit will be phased in for families in which at least one parent earns £50,000, and will be axed for those on £60,000.
The budget includes measures for extra spending in London, including £15m to improve cycling safety and capital allowances for science firms moving into the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone. Transport for London also gets £70m for new projects.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who is standing for re-election in May, welcomed what he called “a budget for jobs, growth and investment.”
Mr Johnson said the extra money “will deliver vital cash for London rail and will allow us to add more carriages to suburban rail, build more river crossings, accelerate broadband and deliver a range of other noticeable improvements in people’s lives.”
The budget has also been welcomed by Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick who said it would hand back £220 to low and middle earners.
Mr Paddick commented: “You can tell a lot about a party by who they cut taxes for. I am proud that Liberal Democrats are cutting taxes for working Londoners further and faster than originally planned.
“With huge fare rises and flatlining wages, I know the strain Londoners are under. As Mayor I will do my bit too, freezing the GLA’s portion of Council Tax and keeping fares as low as possible.”
The Green party’s Jenny Jones suggested extra money for cycle safety was insufficient, and claimed the Mayor “has failed to make the case for Londoners despite supposedly strong links to his pals at the Treasury.”
Ms Jones added: “The next Mayor must focus on ending the needless deaths and injuries of cyclists on London’s roads, and if elected I would immediately rebuild the capital’s most dangerous junctions, as well as introducing 20mph speed limits on residential streets.”
Labour’s Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone claimed: “‘The winners from today’s budget are the super-rich and their champion Tory Boris Johnson, the losers are the majority of Londoners.
“At a time when people on middle and low incomes are being squeezed, seeing their tax credits cut and when one in four young Londoners are out of work, it is completely the wrong priority to cut taxes for people earning over £150,000.”
UKIP London Assembly candidate Steven Woolfe said today’s budget “has made living in the capital harder for Londoners.”
He added: “London workers are now being penalised by the twin impacts of rising fuels costs and increases in stamp duty which will also depress the capital’s housing market.”